Haile Selassie I - Life and Works

From the Official Introduction to the Selected Speeches of H.I.M. – 1967

“The history of modern Ethiopia is being compiled by the activities and events that take place each day in the nation’s supreme and sustained drive for progress in all fields. As Head of State, the prime mover and the driving force in this drama, the public utterances of His Imperial Majesty are, in many respects, a mirror of these activities and or the events that determine the course and tempo of Ethiopia’s development.
On the 75th Anniversary of his birth, it seems proper and fitting to record some of the most important of these utterances made on the many occasions that merited public statements from His Majesty the Emperor during his lengthy, brilliant and devoted service to his country and people.
It is impossible to include all of the Emperor’s pronouncements in one volume. It is hoped, however, that through those reproduced herein, the reader will get a fair picture of His Majesty’s thoughts and ideas that have provided the centrifugal force of his thirty-seven years as Head of State and of the preceding years of, his early appearance on the scene as national leader of Ethiopia.
These speeches, some of them excerpted, in the variety of occasions for which they were intended, as well as in the many subjects on which they deal, portray the breadth of the Emperor’s vision. They detail the persistence, the determination and the unflagging drive with which he pursued the application of “modern Ethiopianism” to which history cannot fail to testify.
The Emperor’s idealism, coupled with his insistence on transforming his country, both on the domestic and international fronts, his courage in the face of adversity, his unchallenged perspicacity, his keen sense in evaluating world events, his unfailing respect for principles, and his abiding faith in humanity – aspects of all of which are found in his public utterances – should make this volume a ready-reference to certain phases of the history of modern Ethiopia.
As the central figure in the renaissance of the nation after its five years of trials in the late I930s, His Imperial Majesty’s vital and indispensable leadership has played a distinctive and decisive role. His appearance before the League of Nations and his impassioned plea for justice for Ethiopia and all small nations and for international morality still remain a classic example both of the breadth of his vision and of a profound comprehension of the foibles of international life. Subsequently, despite the failure of the League of Nations to live up to its covenant and the gruelling distress that both the Emperor and his country suffered as a result, Ethiopia, under his leadership, was among the first nations which, at San Francisco in 1945, built the United Nations on the ashes of its predecessor, the defunct League of Nations.
In these pages will be found expressions of the spirit and the faith that animated the Emperor in this lofty role in international politics.
His primary motivation – that of raising the standard of living of the Ethiopian people and restoring the ancient stature and glory of his nation – runs through the theme of the majority of his public utterances. In them can be clearly seen the inseparable impulse of his whole career. This dedication was amply exposed as he spoke to his people and the world in the speeches contained in this book.
Although an ardent reformer, Emperor Haile Selassie is no iconoclast. Thus, he has advanced the policy of ‘modern Ethiopianism’ a philosophy which he has put into practice from the earliest years of his public career. The Emperor, addressing the nation on the 24th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory over aggression, said: ‘Ethiopia is an ancient land and her civilization is the result of the harmonious alchemy of the past and the present and upon which we confidently build for the future. This heritage is the bed-rock of modern Ethiopia. In it the people have chosen to distil from the past that which is useful and enduring, to adapt those worth-while attributes of our present-day world and to fashion this modern Ethiopianism – the foundation of our social order that has served so admirably the purpose of the nation’s steady advance’.
An absorbing interest in youth has characterized the Emperor’s entire public career; and is infinitely more than just a formal, enlightened paternalism. It is grounded in the fact, so frequently expressed by him, that his Ethiopia is built around the future. Haile Selassie I will go down in history as a leader whose concern for posterity has been both avid and constant. He has always kept close to the people and in particular to the nation’s youth in whom, as the speeches herein illustrate, he places immeasurable faith and confidence.
His Imperial Majesty’s constructive influence has been particularly effective in Africa’s political emancipation. Recalling the days when Africa was a sea of colonialism to the emergence of the Organization of African Unity, Haile Selassie I has been both a symbol and a pillar of strength to Africa as its people fought progressively for their ultimate liberation from colonialism. Today he still stands four-square behind the cause of the complete freedom of the continent in which Ethiopia is the oldest sovereign state.
His Imperial Majesty’s faith in divine providence is a built-in factor in his personal armory. Institutionally, he is ‘Defender of the Faith’, and history will most certainly assess his era as the one in which the Ethiopian Church succeeded in, winning its independence and autonomy after centuries of tutelage under the Alexandrian Patriachate. In times, good or bad, the Emperor’s abiding faith in the Almighty seems to have been both harbinger and fortress, it being rare for him to make any public utterance without calling on divine guidance and acknowledging publicly his thanks for God’s beneficence.”
Haile Selassie I - Prophecy

Anointed and Crowned By The Holy Spirit

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him”
Isaiah 11, 1
Ethiopian I-tal Food

Injera እንጀራ

Injera እንጀራ is a kind of “crepe” of teff flour, a particular Ethiopian cereal with high leavening power. Various traditional condiments are placed on this crepe, which are eaten with hands, using injera as support, like bread.
Injera is a very ancient food, which is said to be the meal of the biblical prophets and the patriarchs of Israel. In Our Father’s prayer, in Ethiopian Amharic language, instead of “give us our daily bread” it is said “give us our daily injera” (“Yelet Injeracchinin Sitten Zarie”). It is the most basic element of the Ethiopian food.
Injera’s idea, as an edible circular support for condiments, is the African arketype of Italian pizza. Teff is a gluten-free grain, which guarantees a very healthy fermentation and easy digestion.
Haile Selassie I - Laws and Government

The Official Logo of Haile Selassie I University in Addis Ababa

The Official Logo of Haile Selassie I University.
“YeQedamawi Hayle Sellasie Yuniversti”
This is the first original name of that Institution, that was changed after the comunist rebellion and turned by the following governments into the modern day “Addis Ababa University”.
Indeed, His Majesty was the first to introduce the academic level of education in Ethiopia – the third educational stage – although He has never personally attended any course of that kind. Nevertheless, He was the Chancellor and spiritual guide of the University until 1975, earning a guinness score of honoris causa degrees from all the most important universities of the world, from all the continents of the earth and in all the main subjects of study. He said about:
“With the help of the Almighty Who guides the destiny of mankind, the educational system has moved from the elementary level through the secondary and has now reached higher education given in our colleges.” (Speeches on Various Occasions, p. 11)
On both sides, Star of David (Mosaic Law – Elementary) and Cross (Christianity – Secondary) are the Cultural Foundation for this modern-time Rasta knowledge, the Fruit that is linked with the Roots through the Trunk in perfect troditional continuity. In fact, as His Majesty has said:
“Nor can we ignore the importance of the spiritual in this academic life. Learning and technical training must be nurtured by faith in God, reverence for the human soul, and respect for the reasoning mind. There is no safer anchorage for our learning, our lives, and our public actions than that provided by Divine teachings coupled with the best in human understanding. Leadership developed here should be guided by the fundamental values and the moral power which have for centuries constituted the essence of our religious teachings.” (Selected Speeches p.22)
On the background, the Gennete Leul Palace, the building that the King has inherited from His Father Ras Makonnen, and that has been His personal residence until 1955, when He moved to the “Jubilee Palace“, built on occasion of the 25th year of His Kingdom.
In 1961, the date written in the logo both in ethiopic and western numbers, He has given His Own Family House to the people as a free gift, so that it could guest the headquarters of the University. A shining example of generosity and devotion to the welfare of the nation, reminding that knowledge is not an end in itself, but a principle that should make flesh and be translated in actual service for humanity. His Majesty said about:
“….In the field of education, We take great pleasure in the fact that the opening of Ethiopia’s first University is near at hand. Henceforth, students who have demonstrated their capacity and ability will no longer leave their homeland to pursue higher education. The University’s faculty is being recruited and its physical plant is being established. We Ourself have presented Our Guennete Leul Palace and its grounds, inherited from Our beloved father, as a free gift to the nation, to serve as the nucleus of the University’s physical facilities…” (Selected Speeches p. 1)
2 Torches of Wisdom burning on both the sides, allegory of Ganjah Fyah and powers of mental enlightenment. Fire is the first element that has been created by Egziabhier, the beginning of His creation as it is for human life and creations, the first scientific and technical knowledge of man. It is also associated to the Eye of Mind and His Focus: through it we can understand the past and foresee the future. That’s why the King said:
“…will be able to call for assistance upon the training he has received in this institution, which, like a torch shedding light both forward and behind, will guide him in his work.” (Selected Speeches p. 53)
The motto of the University is written in the central part of the logo. It is a Ge’ez biblical quotation from the Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, emphasizing the scientific value of Ge’ez and biblical knowledge. It is from Paul, that constitutes the most accultured and theoretically complex speech of the Bible, reflecting the spiritual state of higher education.
ኵሎ አመክሩ ወዘሠናየ አጽንዑ
Kw(e)lo Ammek(e)ru WeZeShenay Atz(e)n’u.
“Examine all and hold that which is good.”
The King said to this University:
“Your guide should therefore be the apostolic saying: study and examine all but choose and follow the good. Our forefathers have succeeded in passing down a free and independent people determined to safeguard its liberty by shedding its blood. Ethiopia is the country in Africa which has kept Ge’ez and Amharic with an alphabet of its own.” (Selected Speeches p. 80)
This should be the accepted standard of any form of higher education among I&I.
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

U.S. President Harry Truman (1945-1953) – Message to His Majesty

Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Nelson Mandela, Conversation with Richard Stengel

Nelson Mandela, Conversation with Richard Stengel about meeting Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
“That was an impressive fellow man, very impressive. It was my first time to watch…a head of state going through the formalities… the motions of formality. This chap came wearing a uniform and he then came and bowed. But it was a bow which was not a bow – he stood erect, you see, but just brought down his head…then…took his seat and addressed us, but he spoke in Amharic…Then, at the end of the conference, he saw every, each delegation…and Comrade Oliver Tambo asked me to speak for our delegation, to speak to Him And I explained to Him very briefly what was happening in South Africa…He was seated on his chair, listening like a log…not nodding, just immovable, you know, like a statue…The next time I saw Him was when we attended a military parade, and that was very impressive, absolutely impressive. And he was then giving awards…to the soldiers; everyone who had graduated got a certificate… A very fine ceremony – a very dignified chap – and he also gave medals. There were American military advisors and groups of military advisers from various countries…And so he gave medals to these chaps too. But to see whites going to a Black Monarch Emperor and bowing was also very interesting.”
Berhane Selassie (Bob Marley)

Emancipate Your Self

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery
none but ourselves can free our mind”
Berhane Selassie, “Redemption Song”
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey